1. Australia, New Zealand dollars buoyed by commodities, carry trades

Australia, New Zealand dollars buoyed by commodities, carry trades

The Australian and New Zealand dollars edged up on Wednesday as less volatile markets, rising equities and bubbly commodities underpinned sentiment for carry trades.

By: | Wellington | Published: November 23, 2016 9:39 AM
The Australian dollar edged up to ##IMG-CONTENT##.7428, from ##IMG-CONTENT##.7400 in early trade, having bounced from a five-month trough of ##IMG-CONTENT##.7311 touched on Monday. (Reuters) The Australian dollar edged up to ##IMG-CONTENT##.7428, from ##IMG-CONTENT##.7400 in early trade, having bounced from a five-month trough of ##IMG-CONTENT##.7311 touched on Monday. (Reuters)

The Australian and New Zealand dollars edged up on Wednesday as less volatile markets, rising equities and bubbly commodities underpinned sentiment for carry trades.

The Australian dollar edged up to $0.7428, from $0.7400 in early trade, having bounced from a five-month trough of $0.7311 touched on Monday.

The Aussie is still down three cents in the two weeks since Republican Donald Trump won the U.S. Presidency and triggered a jump in inflation wagers and Treasury yields.

A sustained break above $0.7420, the 23.6 percent retracement of this month’s move would test $0.7488.

“An increase in prices of iron ore and coal futures supported the Aussie with equities also higher,” said Elias Haddad, a senior currency strategist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

Iron ore futures traded in China <0#DCIO:> jumped over 8 percent on Wednesday alone.

The strength in commodities helped offset softness in domestic construction, which showed a surprisingly steep drop of 4.9 percent in the third quarter.

Scott Haslem, an economist at UBS, noted construction spending sank over 11 percent in the year to September, the biggest drop in 15 years.

On the face of it, the drop would take a chunk out of gross domestic product (GDP) in the third quarter.

“Today’s data puts Q3 GDP on track for ‘flat’, much below our current 0.5 percent growth forecast,” he cautioned.
Underpinning the Antipodean currencies was a return of carry trades where the market borrows at low rates in yen to buy higher yielding assets such as the Aussie and Kiwi.

The Kiwi touched its highest in 10 months at 78.48 yen , having bounced five yen since the U.S. elections. Its Aussie cousin rose to 82.47 yen, nearing its highest since April.

The New Zealand dollar edged up to $0.7072, away from Monday’s low of $0.6983. It remains well below the November peak of $0.7403 and faces stiff chart resistance around $0.7145 in the near term.

With equities in demand, New Zealand government bonds fell, sending yields as much as 6 basis points higher.

Australian government bond futures eased, with the three-year bond contract down 2 ticks at 98.130. The 10-year contract shed 2.5 ticks to 97.3400, while the 20-year contract was steady at 96.7300.

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